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Starship Troopers Paperback – May 15, 1987
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100 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books to Read in a Lifetime
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Juan Rico signed up with the Federal Service on a lark, but despite the hardships and rigorous training, he finds himself determined to make it as a cap trooper. In boot camp he will learn how to become a soldier, but when he graduates and war comes (as it always does for soldiers), he will learn why he is a soldier. Many consider this Hugo Award winner to be Robert Heinlein's finest work, and with good reason. Forget the battle scenes and high-tech weapons (though this novel has them)--this is Heinlein at the top of his game talking people and politics.
“Nothing has come along that can match it.”—Science Fiction Weekly
“A book that continues to resonate and influence to this day, and one whose popularity and luster hasn’t been dimmed despite decades of imitations.”—SF Reviews
“Heinlein’s genius is at its height in this timeless classic that is as meaningful today as when it was written...a fast-paced novel that never gets preachy. This is a definite must-have, must-read book.”—SF Site
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Top customer reviews
I recently retired after 27 years of Naval service, and as silly as it may seem to some, this book was the foundation of my success; in military service, in the lives of countless young Sailors, and in my new role as a civilian.
It shaped the character of who I was as a leader of men and women at war.
Heinlein may have authored "better" books (according to the critics) but having read virtually all of them, none of the others ever quite so captured the essence of what it means to be both in military service and what those of us fortunate enough to have served all know in our hearts: the true value and moral responsibility of citizenship.
As for this book bear in mind when it was written but go along with the story to the very end and try not to compare-and-contrast with adaptations until you've finished the book. I'd first read it in nearly one sitting, and promptly forgot it, being more impressed with Heinlein's short stories and novellas that served as my introduction to him. Fast forward some decades with intervening exposures to the subject movies and TV series and I read it again...in nearly one sitting. No spoilers here, but suffice it to say it's not all about boot camp and the Bugs, and even when Heinlein "pauses" to Explain Things the story moves right along, and admirably so.
Thought still held? Challenge yourself next with some shorter works by Heinlein, in particular, "--And He Built a Crooked House--", "By His Bootstraps", and "--All You Zombies--" (lately adapted for the film Predestination). To paraphrase a vintage TV commercial, bet you can't read just one at least twice...because you'll WANT to.
This book is one of the greatest political commentaries of all time.
Robert A. Heinlein expounds on controversial subjects throughout the work, from what it means to be a citizen to how the military functions (and its role in society), to how current political systems operate, to the effectiveness of our current judicial system and its attendant punishments. This book is one of my favorites of all time for the issues that it tackles through its storyline of following Johnny Rico through the end of high school and into the Mobile Infantry. I've read through this book twice, and even purchased it twice (once paperback, once Kindle) just so I could read it wherever I was. Also one of the few books with any quotes worth highlighting, some of my favorites of which I will include at the bottom.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science fiction political commentaries, or those who have seen the movie and wish to learn more about the political aspects mentioned in passing in the film (not all of which come from the book.)
I leave you with some of my favorite quotes from the book:
"'You. What is the moral difference, if any, between the soldier and the civilian?' 'The difference,' I answered carefully, 'lies in the field of civic virtue. A soldier accepts personal responsibility for the safety of the body politic of which he is a member, defending it, if need be, with his life. The civilian does not.'"
"War is not violence and killing, pure and simple; war is /controlled/ violence, for a purpose. The purpose of war is to support your government's decisions by force. The purpose is never to kill the enemy just to be killing him...but to make him do what you want him to do."
"'Value' has no meaning other than in relation to living beings. The value of a thing is always relative to a particular person, is completely personal and different in quantity for each living human-'market value' is a fiction, merely a rough guess at the average of personal values, all of which must be quantitatively different or trade would be impossible.'"
"'The best things in life are beyond money; their price is agony and sweat and devotion...and the price demanded for the most precious of all things in life is life itself- ultimate cost for perfect value.'"
"'Citizenship is an attitude, a state of mind, an emotional conviction that the whole is greater than the part..and that the part should be humbly proud to sacrifice itself that the whole may live.'"